Technical Reports

Low-Profile, Lightweight Intermodal Railcar Volume I: Performance Specification

  • 01
  • Feb
  • 1981
AUTHOR: Steven E. Shladover, Russel L. Hull
SUBJECT: Freight Operations
KEYWORDS: Intermodal Freight Transportation, Rail Technology, Rail Vehicle Dynamics, Piggyback Freight, Containerized Transportation
ABSTRACT: The Performance Specification and Acceptance Test Plan, respectively contained in Volumes I and II of this report, define the requirements for a low- profile, light-weight intermodal railcar. The Car specified here must be able to operate within restricted clearances when carrying either highway trailers or standard shipping containers and must be designed for low aerodynamic resistance and light weight in order to conserve energy. Also, it must be capable of dynamically stable operation at the high speeds which may be expected in special intermodal unit trains. Both safety and protection of lading against the damage which can be caused by excessive ride vibration must be considered in the design of the Car. It is intended that these requirements will stimulate the development of innovative railcar designs. The Car specified here is an idealized concept which satisfies the most stringent technological requirements presently envisioned for intermodal service. The performance baseline defined here may not be equally appropriate for all users of the Specification, some of whom may wish to modify some of the requirements better to reflect their particular needs. The Acceptance Test Plan includes not only the performance tests which must be performed to verify compliance with the Specification, but also the sequence of preliminary and detailed analyses which should be performed to facilitate development of a Car design which will meet the performance requirements.